COLUMBUS--State Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) today joined community leaders in calling for Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters to release video footage, dispatch recordings, and the incident report concerning events that resulted in the death of Samuel Dubose on Sunday in Mount Auburn. Prosecutor Deters has refused to release these items, stating that doing so could “jeopardize my investigation.”
“Since the events of 2001, Cincinnatians have put in a great deal of effort toward building confidence in our justice system, from stronger police-community relations to increased trust in the grand jury process,” said Senator Thomas. “Investigations of previous questionable incidents have been open and transparent, and video evidence has been released to the public within twenty-four hours. A secretive process undermines the progress we have made, and has proven to be a recipe for disaster in cases across the country, from Beavercreek, Ohio, to Ferguson, Missouri.”
Senator Thomas believes the decision to withhold the footage fosters distrust among the deceased’s family and community, and carries no benefit to the investigation or the grand jury presentation. There are also concerns that withholding relevant materials is a violation of the Ohio Public Records Act. A formal request to the prosecutor’s office for footage, recordings, and incident reports submitted Wednesday by the Cincinnati Enquirer was denied.
“The family of Mr. Dubose deserves answers sooner rather than later,” said Senator Thomas. “Defying open records laws would betray the pursuit of transparency, aggravate tensions in the community, and – most importantly – antagonize the family in their time of grief.”